The doctrine that will arises out of knowledge must not be pressed to mean that will is simply conditioned by knowledge, without in turn conditioning knowledge. But on the other hand they admitted that it was an integral part of reason --according to the Scotists indeed, the superior and nobler part, as being the supreme controller and mover ("Voluntas est motor in toto regno animæ", Scotus ).
Bain's description of voluntary action as "feeling-prompted movement", therefore, destroys the essential distinction between voluntary and impulsive action.
The same criticism applies to Wundt's analysis of the volitional process.
There are, however, many manifestations of will that are less complete than this.
Formal choice, preceded by methodical deliberation, is not the only or the most frequent type of volition.
Emotions or feelings associated with certain ideas tend to express themselves in action.
They may dominate the field of consciousness to the exclusion of every other idea.
According to him, "impulsive action" is "the starting-point for the development of all volitional acts", from which starting-point volitional acts, properly so called, emerge as the result of the increasing complication of impulses; when this complication takes the form of a conflict, there ensues a process called selection or choice, which determines the victory in one direction or another.
From this it is clear that choice is simply a sort of circuitous impulse. a complex impulse) and a choice activity is a vanishing quantity." Compare with this the dictum of Hobbes: "I conceive that in all deliberations, that is to say, in all alternate succession of contrary appetites, the last is that which we call the Will".
Thus, an altruistic act done for the sake of the pleasure it brings to the agent is no longer altruism or productive of the pleasure of altruism.
Indeed, the objects of many of the passions which most powerfully impel the will, are ordinarily not pleasures, though they may include relief from pain.
Thus, the sight or the thought of extreme suffering may carry with it emotions of pity so intense that considerations of justice and prudence will be brushed aside in the effort to bring relief. An impulse is essentially the forcible prompting of a single, strongly affective idea.